Yesterday, I participated in the Boston Globe’s “Building a Better Commonwealth” event. I was on a panel discussing nightlife, the restaurant scene, and recreation. We were brainstorming ideas to help attract and keep people in Massachusetts.
We hit on the topic of companies enticing employees with more than just discounted or free membership to a gym. The facts are kinda dismal. At any given time, only 15% of the local population has a membership to a gym. Of that number, how many actually go? (Trust me, it’s a lot lower!) Since it’s likely that getting a discount to a local gym will just get a ho-hum or an eye roll from a potential employee, what can you do that’s more dynamic?
In-House Fitness. If a business has space to put in a gym that’s great, but you can bring fitness in other ways too. How about holding a health fair where people can get their blood pressure checked? Or having a personal trainer come in for lunch to teach a bootcamp class outside? You could start a running club, softball or basketball league; the possibilities go on and on and are all pretty inexpensive.
Workplace Challenges. Create teams in the workplace and have people score fitness points to battle each other for prizes. My husband’s workplace, MIT, does this every year and it’s a point of pride to be on the winning team.
Tie Raises/Bonuses to Fitness. What better way to incentivize your employees than with cold hard cash? It can be an add-on for those people who maintain healthy BMIs or a quarterly bonus for minutes of fitness logged. There are lots of ways to measure this and it can be an opt-in program for employees, not mandatory.
Cover Lots of Different Options. Let your employees pick how they get fit. I have several clients who can get reimbursements to a gym, but can’t get reimbursements for my Pilates studio. That’s just silly. Let your employees pick reputable but diverse options for fitness and cover them all with a predetermined dollar amount. From yoga to tai chi, from ice skating lessons to covering a running club membership, let them choose how to spend your benefit.
What do you think? What does your employer do to support your healthy lifestyle? What do you wish they would do? Let’s hear it; this is a great place to start a discussion.